Fly Fishing, the different stages of development in an anglers life cycle

I meet fly fisherman from all over the world and I have found over the years that almost without exception they are wonderful people. Maybe it’s just one of those pastimes or passions that people with certain attitudes gravitate towards. After all they are out for a good time on the water for one reason or another.

There seems to be a progression of development in a fly fishermans life, it’s a bit like Maslows hierarchy of needs in a fishy way. Certain requirements need to be fulfilled before the angler can gain the next level. Here’s my theory:

Level 1:      I just want to catch a fish, anything will do.

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions

Level 2:      I want to catch a lot of fish.

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions

Level 3:      I want to catch a big fish.

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions - 13lbs of NZ trophy brown trout

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions - 13lbs of NZ trophy brown trout

Level 4:         I just want to be out on the water, catching a fish is a nice bonus.

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions

Level 5:          I am a dumb arse guide!

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions

Now the interesting thing about this theory is that many anglers make it to level 4 bypassing level 3 but I don’t think many make it to level 4 without first obtaining  levels 1 and 2. Most that make it to level 5 at some point want to be back at level 4 and almost always level 3 comes into play no matter where you are at in the progression.

Did I miss any levels? Where do you fit into this progression? Use the comments and let me know.

My father (who is a great fly angler) has a saying: ” Man with hands in pocket feels cocky all day and man with fly in water catches fish”. As a guide I have my hands in my pocket all day (usually to stop being bitten by sandflies) so  I don’t often have my fly in the water. Maybe he’s just telling me in his wise old way that I am a cocky prick and it’s time to go fishing with him soon!

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions

7 Responses to Fly Fishing, the different stages of development in an anglers life cycle

  1. jonathan scott says:

    yep, I’m at level 4. I just enjoy being out and catching a fish is a bonus.

  2. Simon says:

    Great place be. I was there recently hence the last pic on the post.

  3. Harvey says:

    Very good observation. An out-print-book I foolishly gave to a former love one, called “The Book of Heroic Failures” cites an a fishing competition incident in the UK in the 70s. None of this wading around and all, just umbrellas for the day.
    At the end of the day, no one had caught even a stickleback.
    They learned later that the water in question had been “removed of fish” the week before.
    Moral? Sure they were happy on that day. Much as I am on a NZ river any day.

  4. Kelvin says:

    I’d say I’m somewhere between level 2 and level 3 at the moment. Level 2 because I’m a species tart (just reached triple figures recently) and level 3 because once I’ve caught a few of any one species (trout included) I’m after size rather than numbers. I hope to get to level 4 one day (I’m still in my 30’s so give me time). Level 5 I’ll leave for you ; )

  5. Simon says:

    Hi Kelvin, triple figures sounds good. Was that for a single species or you have caught that many different species?

  6. pravakar says:

    Your article is too much interesting, the fishes you have posted is really looking amazing.

  7. Kelvin says:

    Different species. Like I said Im a species tart!! 😉

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